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Category Archives: area attractions

A Fun Saturday Night

Saturday night Steven and I combined three of our favorite things: time with friends, dinner out and theatre.

First we met our friends Phyllis and Jim at Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner in Herkimer, NY. This is one of our longtime favorite spots, and I have given it several shout-outs. It is a regular destination for Phyllis and Jim as well.

After a delicious dinner and enjoyable conversation, we all headed over to Ilion Little Theatre for Noises Off, their first production of the 2014-15 season. Ilion Little Theatre (ILT) is another Mohawk Valley institution which I have given many a well-deserved shout-out. I love the historic Stables that houses it. I love the intimate size of the performance space. And I love seeing my friends from the theatre group on stage.

Noises Off features some players who are new to the ILT stage as well as returning players. All the actors are very talented and they had the audience laughing heartily. My favorite was Act II, which involved whiskey and an ax.

We had originally thought to go out for drinks after the show, to discuss the production. We’ve worked on plays with Phyllis and Jim, so we often find a lot to say about plays we merely watch. However, by the time the play was over, it was late and we were tired. We had a great time and plan to do it again. Perhaps at the next ILT production, if we’re not onstage.

For more information on Ilion Little Theatre, visit their website at www.ilionlittletheatre.org or you can Like their Facebook page. For more information on Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, their website is www.crazyottosempirediner.com, and they also have a Facebook page.

“A-apples and Cider!”

The main problem with writing about Fly Creek Cider Mill (and going to it, talking about it or even thinking about it, for that matter) is that the song from the commercial plays in my head for the next three hours. “A-apples and cider! At the Fly Creek Cider Mill!”

Some might say another problem is that I have written about the place several times before (too lazy to check how many and anyways I’d probably miss one). Well, I’ve said before and I’ll say again, I like to give another shout-out to a place I enjoy. Regarding the song, if I’ve given anybody an earworm, sorry. It goes away eventually.

Be all that as it may, Steven and I made yet another trip to the Fly Creek Cider Mill last Friday. It was quite enjoyable. As usual, I went around trying all the samples. Dips, sauces, jellies, mustard, salsa and fudge. Yum!

Of course we went into the tasting room to sample wine and hard cider. My favorite was the Mill Pond Reisling. Steven was fond of the Montezuma Winery Canvasback Red. It was $4 off three bottles, so we also got Diamond from Montezuma Winery, which I am pretty sure my mother will like. I found the taste reminiscent of Tickle Hill’s Suzy Q, one of her all-time favorites. It also had a very cool label.

After making our purchases, we went outside to visit the ducks. I was sorry I did not have a quarter to get some corn to feed them, especially when a bunch of them swam over hopefully. I could only find a couple pieces of corn on the ground. Usually I can find at least a handful that way (I always say, waste not, want not). I didn’t think the ducks looked too poorly fed, though, so I didn’t worry about it too much.

We always have a good time at the cider mill. We may even make another trip there before the year is out. The Fly Creek Cider Mill is located at 288 Goose St., Fly Creek, NY. Phone number is 607-547-9692. You can visit their website at www.flycreekcidermill.com, and you can Like them on Facebook.

Where I Like to Go for Popcorn

Astute readers may remember that a stop at Dyn’s Cider Mill formed part of Steven’s and my adventures last Friday. I’ve written about Dyn’s before, but I think it’s always appropriate to give a fun place another shout-out.

Dyn’s is located at 7915, Rt. 28, Richfield Springs, NY. It’s a scenic ride with views of water, mountains and farmland. The fall colors were past peak last Friday, but Steven and I saw patches of bright yellow, red and orange. We also scanned for Halloween decorations as we drove by people’s houses.

We walked into the large room and once again admired the country decor. One thing I definitely wanted was a cup of hot cider. The girl working there had to bring out more cups. She also brewed a fresh pot of coffee, which is almost always Steven’s beverage of choice. While the coffee brewed, I found my Dyn’s Popcorn, which was the real reason for the visit, and we debated which of the baked goods we would purchase. I moved my things out of the way of another customer.

“There’s popcorn?” she said, as I moved the bag.

“Really good popcorn,” I said. “I get some every year and love it. Then when it’s gone I make do with Jolly Time till I can get more Dyn’s.”

She got some popcorn, too. Steven and I decided on a half dozen apple cider donuts. I thought about purchasing some gourds to enhance our fall decor but decided against it. I pointed out to Steven that if we had felt like sitting and enjoying our beverages there, we could have used ceramic mugs. We could have played checkers on a rather large board on one of the tables. Perhaps on a future visit.

Dyn’s is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They serve breakfast every Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon, and spaghetti and lasagna Wednesdays from noon to 7 p.m. For more information call 315-858-2078.

A Rustic Taste

One of the stops on Steven’s and my adventurous Friday was Rustic Ridge Winery in Burlington Flats, NY. I am, of course, a longtime lover of wine and of wineries, so I was delighted to find another good one.

We had the map of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail. I would like to make all the stops on the trail one day, but since we had other adventures in mind on Friday, I thought one winery would be good. It was not hard to find, 2805 St. Hwy 80. We pulled into the driveway and felt pleased with ourselves for not getting lost or, even more likely, driving right by the place.

Steven right away saw a nice labrador-looking dog out behind the place. I read somewhere that most of the wineries have dogs. They help keep certain pests away from the vineyard. Also, dogs are nice. Steven tried to get the dog to come over and say hello, but he declined. I said he was probably on guard duty.

Inside, the cabin looked, appropriately enough, rustic. Country music was playing. We were the only tasters there at the time. We could have paid $3 for five tastes, but opted to pay $6 and keep the glasses. We like to add to our collection of wine glasses.

For whites we tried the Chardonnay and the Untamed White. Two Chardonnays were available. I chose the one that was not oak aged. I liked it. The Untamed White had a cool label with evil eyes. Rick Bennett, the owner who was doing our tasting, said it was comparable to Pinot Grigio. We liked it but preferred the Chardonnay.

For reds we both tried the ’09 Pinot Noir and the Cabernet Franc. Steven tried the Merlot and I went for the Lemberger ’09. I’m not as familiar with lemberger as I am with merlot, so I thought to try something different. We liked everything we tried but only purchased the Chardonnay, giving us a good reason to return at a later time.

Before making our purchase we browsed the shop for wine accessories and t-shirts. Steven especially liked one that read, “New York is for wine; Napa is for auto parts.” Of course, we’ve had some California wines that we liked perfectly well, but I enjoyed the play on words.

Incidentally, the dog came in while we were tasting and Steven petted him. I was busy taking tasting notes, but on our way out I petted him, too. I’m sure fellow dog lovers will be happy to hear we got to meet the nice dog.

We were very pleased with our stop. I hope to bring some of my wine other tasting buddies with me next time. For more information on Rustic Ridge Winery you can call 607-965-0626. Their website is www.rusticridgewinery.com, and they have a Facebook page.

Big Plans, Small Post

I’m taking Friday off, so that makes Wednesday my Thursday, right? I bring the matter up, because I threatened yesterday (Tired Tuesday) to have a Wuss-out Wednesday today. In a desperate attempt to avoid that eventuality, I am sitting at work (before my shift starts, not while I’m on the clock, peanut gallery), scribbling in my notebook (the paper, spiral-bound kind; I’m a creature of the previous century), hoping to come up with something.

My husband has Friday off as well. We plan to spend at least part of the day having Mohawk Valley adventures. First we’ll head to Richfield Springs, NY and stop at Dyn’s Cider Mill. I want to get a bag of Dyn’s Popcorn. Regular readers may remember that I make my popcorn on the stove in a pot with oil and melt real butter to put on it. Dyn’s Popcorn is excellent for the purpose.

From there we thought we’d go to Fly Creek Cider Mill, another favorite stop of ours. Steven also suggested that either before Fly Creek or on our way home we stop at Butternut Barn Primitives, 427 Butternut Rd., Richfield Springs, a place we’ve never been to but have heard good things about.

While pondering our plan, I wondered about what other new places we could go. I remembered the Cooperstown Beverage Trail. I didn’t think we could do the whole trail, but perhaps we could check one or two of the stops on it. I thought I had seen a booklet about it at Gems Along the Mohawk in Herkimer.

I did not find information about the Beverage Trail, but in between the retail shops and the Waterfront Grille, there are many fliers about various attractions. I picked up a handful. Now we have lots of ideas!

So things are looking good for future blog posts. I hope to have several business and attractions to write about. In the meantime, I hope this preview of coming attractions will do for now.

A Quick Stop at the Art Gallery

I have been meaning for some time to make it to Cogar Gallery at Herkimer County Community College. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when the college is open. Therefore, the best thing for me to do is go straight there after work. So I did.

The exhibit I saw was an alumni show, McCann and Ingerick, Photographer and Painter. Debbie Ruane Sullivan Ingerick graduated in 1979, Carolynn McCann Dufft in 1981. I had meant to go to the opening reception on Oct. 4, but alas, did not make it. However, sometimes it is easier to appreciate the art when one walks around the gallery alone.

The show features a variety of works from realistic to more abstract. As I have said before, I don’t know from art styles and I’m nobody’s art critic. I just like to look at pictures. I spent a while walking around and looking at the pictures before I perused the list of works. Then I went back to look again at some of the works whose titles that caught my eye.

My favorite was “We Are The Light in the Storms of Life” by Ingerick. It showed a lighthouse on a hill surrounded by water. I also enjoyed a series of six photographs by McCann called “Bette’s Bench.”

I may go back and look at the exhibit again. It is on display through Nov. 4. And I’ll watch for future exhibits to go see. I wonder if the college offers a course on art appreciation, so I can write more impressively about these things. I’ll have to go to www.herkimer.edu and see.

Adventures in Mohawk

Last Saturday as we drove out of Herkimer, NY on the way to the Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival, I pointed out Mohawk Station Bar and Grill, and Mohawk Antiques Mall. When we left the festival one sister suggested we get some lunch at the Station then browse the Antiques Mall. I thought it was an excellent suggestion.

The Mohawk Station used to be an actual train station and still looks like one. We all admired the decor as the waitress led us to a table big enough to accommodate our party of nine. We enjoyed sandwiches, salads, soup and pasta, respectively. There was plenty to pick from. Perhaps I should bring Steven there for dinner one night soon.

After lunch we drove across the street rather than walk, because it’s kind of a busy street. Also, we didn’t know how long we’d be at the Antiques Mall and didn’t want to take up the restaurant’s parking.

It is easy to spend a lot of time at Mohawk Antiques Mall. Three rooms downstairs and a long room upstairs house many dealers and a wide variety of goods. I’ve been there several times, but there is always something different to see (it seems silly to say “something new” about an antiques mall).

My favorite thing this time was an old library card catalog filled with post cards. It was wonderful! The card catalog by itself was a nostalgic item for me as I remembered the days when I could research a topic with some success (the Internet still mystifies me). Somebody went to the trouble of alphabetizing the post cards which filled the drawers.

The others in my group enjoyed the antiques mall as much as I did, so I was happy I had mentioned it. I told them about some of the special events held there as fundraisers for 4PetsSake, the food pantry for pets. We’ll probably return for some of those. Maybe I can write blog posts about them.

The Mohawk Station Bar and Grill is located at 95 E. Main St., Mohawk, NY. For more information call 315-219-5223 or visit their website at www.TheMohawkStation.com. The Mohawk Antiques Mall is at 100 E. Main St., phone numbers 315-219-5044 or 315-866-1209. Their website is www.mohawkantiquesmall.com. Both businesses are also on Facebook.

It’s a C Not a K, by the Way

So there I was, writing about a minor Mohawk Valley adventure I had and I thought, “This is kind of dull.” It had been hard enough to start, because I am getting a little tired of beginning blog posts with “This day we went here and did this…” I could not think of anything better, so I told myself, “Just start with that and you can change it later.”

I started. I wrote. I was quite unsatisfied. I wrote the preceding paragraph. I spent the rest of my breaks at work NOT writing. I came home and, um, still did not write. Finally, I thought, “It’s Non-Sequitur Thursday. I’ll type in the paragraph about not liking what I wrote, type in what I wrote, and let my readers judge (even though I often say, ‘Don’t judge’)”.

The other night, Steven, Tabby and I took a drive out to the KOA Kampground by the Herkimer Diamond Mines to visit some relatives who happened to be staying there. What a nice setting for a pleasant summer evening. I’m sure the Herkimer Diamond Mines would make a fine blog post. In fact, we visited there once in my pre-blogging days. But Tuesday all we did was hang out at the Kampground.

The Kampground is located across the highway from the Diamond Mines, right on the river. As we sat visiting we could watch some kids cruise by on inner tubes. Then we would see them walk by on the other side of the camp site, headed back for another run. It looked like a fun way to spend an evening to me.

After a while Tabby wanted to walk so I took her around a little bit. The inground pool looked inviting. Tabby seemed interested in going into the laundromat, but it had a sign saying no pets in the building. We saw some cabins that looked nice but did not get very close to them. That is the way I like to camp, by the way: with all the comforts. Point and laugh if you must.

Well, I guess that isn’t terrible, but it isn’t terribly interesting either, is it? However, it is short and to the point. If only I could think of a punchy headline, I think it would fly for a Non-Sequitur Thursday. Hope to see you on Lame Post Friday.

Historic Fun

When I heard the Herkimer County Historical Society was holding an open house on Saturday (yesterday), I was delighted. They are usually open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, when I happen to be at work. They open on Saturdays during July and August as well as between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but in the meantime, I have to grab my local history fix when I can.

I love, love, love local museums. Wherever I live, going to the local museum is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve been through Herkimer’s several times and I see something new each time. Saturday’s open house ran from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. I got there shortly after ten. I had beaten the crowds and walked around with a volunteer in kind of a personal informal tour. We chatted about lots of things. It was great fun.

I also checked out their archaeological dig, right on the museum grounds. How cool is that? The dig was excavated once before, but they have been able to open it again this summer. Many people have volunteered. Their big discovery this time is a well, but they have also uncovered many fragments of items such as bottles, pipes and pottery.

Two volunteers were on the porch between the museum’s two buildings, carefully cleaning and sorting the fragments. One lady showed me two bottle fragments of colored glass.

“Now I want you to find all the pieces of that bottle and put it back together,” I told her. She said she would get right on it. Then I praised them for using their own toothbrushes for the task and we all laughed. You know me; I have to be silly.

I really enjoyed my visit. I intend to write more about the historical society and their exhibits. However, for today I thought I would just give a brief shout out. Now I must get back to my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday.

Fun at Fly Creek

Any place that offers free samples is an OK place in my book. At the top of the list is the Fly Creek Cider Mill.

You can walk around the sales floor and sample dips, sauces, salsas and more. You can also try the hard cider and apple wine, if you’re over 21, which I am. If you’re hungrier than samples will satisfy, there is a snack bar. On a recent trip with a family group, some people in the group were that hungry.

“But if you buy something inside, you can get 10 percent off at the snack bar,” I told them. “You can have some free samples to hold you over.” I was out-voted. That was OK. The snack bar offers some pretty tasty stuff, and I saved room for samples.

The fellow at the wine tasting bar was very knowledgeable. I learned that true ice wine is made when the fruit has frozen before being picked. Some unscrupulous winemakers freeze the fruit after picking and fall it ice wine, but the Apple Wine we sampled was the real thing. Very sweet, definitely a dessert wine, in case you wanted to know.

After some sampling, we went upstairs to admire gifts and decorations. I’m not exactly ready to think about Christmas yet, but they sure do have some pretty stuff.

One of my favorite things to do at the cider mill is to feed the ducks, geese and chickens. Several vending machines dispense a handful of corn for a quarter. I also gathered some corn from the ground, where people had dropped it. Waste not, want not. I especially like to go up on the deck and toss corn into the pond for the ducks to dive for.

I usually go to the Fly Creek Cider Mill several times a year. For more information you can visit their website at www.flycreekcidermill.com. You can also Like them on Facebook. I did.